Throughout the 1960s, Barry Shepherd worked for several different packaging companies in sample making and design. He joined Kodak Canada in 1970 and began designing packaging for cameras, film and related products. While at Kodak he was involved in the development of packaging for Kodachrome slides, an early, groundbreaking use of thin-wall injection molding.
During the mid-1970s and early 1980s, Shepherd worked for several corrugated packaging companies in positions ranging from sales to president of a small box company. He always stayed involved in his passion: Design and development. In 1984, Shepherd was introduced to the Alloyd Co., which specialized in thermoforming medical, consumer packaging and sealing equipment, and he was intrigued by plastics and blister packaging.
In 1985, he launched Shepherd Packaging, selling plastic blisters, trays, clamshells, sealing equipment and other packaging products. Shepherd Packaging expanded its manufacturing business, and in 1997 entered the heavy-gauge thermoforming market by developing a custom thermoformed plastic pallet for Lear. Under Shepherd's leadership in 2006, Shepherd Thermoforming & Packaging Inc. opened its 43,000-square-foot custom thermoforming facility near Toronto, ON, Canada, where the company operates seven thermoforming and two CNC milling machines. Now retired, Shepherd remains active on the board of advisors for the company he founded.
Shepherd joined the SPE Thermoforming Division Board of Directors in 1997 and worked on several committees, including the Executive Committee, before retiring from the board in 2010. During his tenure, Shepherd also served as Technical Editor of the Thermoforming Division's award-winning publication, SPE Thermoforming Quarterly.
Today, the family-owned business based in Brampton, ON, Canada, is a growing, innovative company with sons Todd and Mark at the helm. "My family is an example of the entrepreneurial spirit that lives in this business," said Shepherd upon receiving the award.
Shepherd is semi-retired, splitting his time between Florida and Ontario. The business continues to expand, with a safe-quality food-service line being put into production in a few weeks, Shepherd announced during his acceptance speech.
Shepherd also noted how much the industry has changed over the years. "When I came into the industry, we were still talking about the art of thermoforming," he commented. "Now, technology and the digital age don't leave much room for that."